Tag Archives: adventure

Book Reviews
May 30, 2014 posted by Emma

Scarlet (Scarlet #1) by A.C. Gaughen

Scarlet (Scarlet, #1)Many readers know the tale of Robin Hood, but they will be swept away by this new version full of action, secrets, and romance. 

Posing as one of Robin Hood’s thieves to avoid the wrath of the evil Thief Taker Lord Gisbourne, Scarlet has kept her identity secret from all of Nottinghamshire. Only the Hood and his band know the truth: the agile thief posing as a whip of a boy is actually a fearless young woman with a secret past. Helping the people of Nottingham outwit the corrupt Sheriff of Nottingham could cost Scarlet her life as Gisbourne closes in.

It’s only her fierce loyalty to Robin—whose quick smiles and sharp temper have the rare power to unsettle her—that keeps Scarlet going and makes this fight worth dying for.


The first thing that you need to know is that I’m obsessed with the story of Robin Hood. I’ve always loved any Robin Hood movie (but especially the Disney version), have read tons of books about him, and I even lived in Nottingham, England for 4 months (with plenty of hiking through Sherwood Forest). So obviously when I heard about Scarlet by A.C. Gaughen, I was over the moon. A Robin Hood retelling told through the eyes of a girl thief pretending to be a boy? Yes, please!

Unfortunately, while I did enjoy a lot of aspects of this novel, it didn’t live up to my expectations.

My biggest problem was with the heroine, Scarlet (or Will Scarlet as she’s known). At times I was totally in love with her, cause she was feisty, kick-ass, and didn’t take any crap from anyone. But at the same time, there were some very real moments when I wanted to throat-punch her. She was really, really mouthy and a little obnoxious sometimes. Her temper was through the roof for like 90% of the book, and she’d get set off for literally the tiniest things. And here’s the thing! I love my heroines feisty and bold. BUT Scarlet crossed the line from blunt into plain old annoying.

As for the love triangle (yes, there’s a love triangle, folks) between Scarlet, Robin, and Little John, I just wasn’t buying it. First off, Robin Hood was not the same Robin Hood that I love. He was quiet and angsty, with very little of the sass that is expected from Robin Hood, and it was honestly not very attractive. And then Little John was straight up an asshole. He was basically always rude to Scarlet, but then about halfway through a switch seems to flip in his head and all of a sudden he decides he wants her. I wasn’t believing a word of it, especially since through most of it he’s this notorious womanizer.

Finally, Scarlet’s accent/dialect drove me CRAZY. She talked like a back-country hick (except English), with sentences like “He were mighty attractive to me.” That’s how the entire book is written. But oddly enough, nobody else seems to talk this way…they all speak in proper English. Which makes NO sense, because Scarlet of all people should speak properly due to what you find out about her character at the end.

All in all, I enjoyed parts of this book. I liked the unique take on the story of Robin Hood and I liked the way that the author’s storytelling was very quick and full of suspense. There was tons of action and I loved reading about it, even if I wasn’t a fan of the characters. Some people may really enjoy this series and want to check it out, but it wasn’t for me.

Pages: 292

Date Published: February 14, 2012

Publisher: Walker Childrens

Rating: ★★★☆☆

Jim Morgan and the King of Thieves by James Matlack Raney
Book of the Month
September 4, 2012 posted by Nikki

Jim Morgan and the King of Thieves by James Matlack Raney

Young Jim Morgan loves everything about his life: ignoring his old tutor’s lessons, flaunting his new clothes, terrorizing his servants, and perfecting the fine art of snobbery. But the night his father returns from a mysterious sea voyage with the secret to a vast pirate treasure, Jim’s world is thrown upside down. Now Jim must escape the clutches of his father’s wicked enemies, decipher the magic of a gypsy witch, hide from a shadowy pirate and his talking raven, and outwit the King of Thieves and his army of pickpockets. If he is to survive, Jim must learn to trust new allies and discover the power and magic of true friendship. And through it all he may, just possibly, uncover a hero hidden within him, and live an adventure beyond his wildest dreams…

James Morgan is one of those privileged kids. He comes from one of the most prestigious families in all of England, has servants to boss around, and he can even read. This fact alone is a pretty exceptional thing and is definitely a sign of his social status. Raised mostly by his Aunt, James is nothing short of a spoiled little brat. But when his father returns from years away, chaos follows his arrival home. In mere moments, Jim’s life is thrown into darkness as people he thought he could trust deceive him and place his life in danger. Before he even has time to comprehend what happened, James finds himself on the run.

Taking the only thing that remains of his father – a box a gypsy put a spell on and now James can’t open – he heads to London where he crosses some very interesting characters indeed.

Enter The King of Thieves. He’s conniving and manipulative, but he’s charismatic enough to have won the trust of London’s finest street urchins and pickpockets. You see, the King of Thieves is looking for something very special indeed, and he’s using the homeless kids of London to find it for him. James, being James, finds himself in a bit of a pickle and The King ends up claiming his father’s box.

Meet the Ratt Brothers and lovely little Lacey. In accordance with The King’s wishes, this little clan of pickpockets agrees to take Jim into their group and show him the ropes. Nothing short of hilarity ensues. Jim is clumsy, naïve, and his innocence radiates off of every page as readers watch him attempt to settle into a life on the streets. Lucky for him, the Ratt Brothers are pros, and they’ve got his back at every turn.

The Ratt’s and Lacey vow they’ll help Jim get his box back, and as the group start their mission to retrieve what’s rightfully his, Jim and his new friends find themselves in one dangerous situation after the next. How on earth are they going to get Jim’s box back and stay out of trouble at the same time? Friendship, that’s how.

Can Jim and his new friends outsmart the King of Thieves and get his box back? You’ll have to pick up the book to find out.

This is one of those outstanding adventure stories that has a little something for everyone. Action? Check. Drama? Check. Humor? Double check. But most importantly, Jim Morgan and the King of Thieves is full of great characters. Jim himself starts out as a petulant little snob, but as readers watch life bite him in the butt, it’s hard not to fall in love with him. Perhaps my favorite of all the characters, though, is the Ratt Brothers – all three of them. They’re a constant source of entertainment throughout the story, but what I loved the most about them was their optimistic and positive outlook on life. They’ve been dealt some pretty difficult cards, yet they’re able to tackle each day with vigor and purpose. I’d be proud to call them my friends.

Beautifully written and perfectly paced, Jim Morgan and the King of Thieves is a must read for everyone who loves to step into world colored with a little magic and a lot of adventure. Bring on book two.

Two big thumbs up.


Pages: 296

Publisher: self published

Publication date: October, 2012

Rating:: ★★★★★

Teaser Quote: “Red?” the lunk holding Lacey said, his eyes as big as two moons on his face. “Is that bird talking to us?”




The Iron Witch (Book 1) – Karen Mahoney
Book Reviews
February 19, 2011 posted by Kiona

The Iron Witch (Book 1) – Karen Mahoney

When she was seven, a horrific fey attack killed Donna Underwood’s father and drove her mother mad. Her own nearly fatal injuries were fixed by alchemy – the iron tattoos branding her hands and arms. Now seventeen, Donna feels like a freak, doomed by the magical heritage that destroyed her parents and any chance she had for a normal life. Only her relationship with her best friend, Navin, is keeping her sane.

But when vicious wood elves abduct Navin, Donna is forced to accept her role in the centuries-old war between human alchemists and these darkest outcast of Faerie. Assisted by Xan, a gorgeous guy with faery blood running through his veins and secrets of his own, Donna races to save Navin – even if it means betraying everything her parents fought to the death to protect.

Donna Underwood wears long, velvet gloves everyday to hide what her classmates think are skin graphs. But really, Donna is hiding the swirling silver tattoos that reach from her fingertips almost to her elbows. These tattoos saved her life when she was attacked as a child, but her mother and father weren’t so lucky. No seventeen, Donna has trust issues and she feels like she can’t even confide in her best and only friend, Navin. That is, until she meets Xan.

The Iron Witch, Karen Mahoney’s debut novel, is a blend of the faerie and alchemical worlds. The beginning of the book is a bit slow, but provides back story and introduces the fascinating world of alchemy. Donna belongs to an ancient alchemical order, the Order of the Dragon, and hearing about her world is intriguing, but also realistic. Sometimes I feel like the faerie world is overdone, but The Iron Witch offers a new slant on the fey and doesn’t go overboard. Mahoney does a great job of balancing the real world with a magical one.

I found Donna to be a very likable protagonist. She’s never mopey. Anytime she starts feeling bad for herself, she catches herself and realizes that instead of sitting around sulking, she can actually do something. She is a girl of action. Even though she knows she’s not invincible, she’s also not afraid to take chances. I also enjoyed reading about her budding relationship with Xan. She’s taken care of herself for so long that it’s hard for her to open up to others. When she finds herself reaching for Xan’s hand when she’s scared, she realizes that although she might not need him to protect her, it’s okay to let herself be comforted by others. This realization struck me as very honest and mature.

Navin and Xan are very interesting characters. Navin sounds like the best friend anyone could ask for. The popular crowd at school accepts him, yet he always sticks up and looks out for Donna. Mahoney might be setting the groundwork for a love triangle, but in The Iron Witch Navin doesn’t come across as anything more than a friend. Xan is also pretty incredible, but also much more secretive than Navin. He’s gorgeous, of course, and his chance meeting with Donna at his own party is almost too much of a coincidence to buy, but I’ll let it slide because I like him so much. Donna’s feelings for him seem believable and I like that she repeatedly acknowledges that she’s only known him for a few days, so we know she’s not one of those idiotic girls who fall in love with the first green-eyed, golden-skinned boy they meet. Donna feels the way I’m sure any girl in her situation would feel and she has a lot in common with Xan, enough to build a solid relationship on. I believe Mahoney does an excellent job with character development in her debut novel.

The only things I don’t like about this book is that the entire story takes place in the span of about three or four days and the dialogue sometimes comes across as unrealistic. The characters sometimes speak in an elegant or forced manner that doesn’t fit with their personalities or the time period. Also, all of the action happens in the last sixty pages and is resolved fairly quickly. But one huge question remains unanswered, a question proposed by the Wood Queen, and I’m interested to see where the author takes this story. Now that Mahoney has established Donna’s world, I think her next book will be exciting and even better than the first. I’ll be looking out for it.

Pages: 289
Publication Date: February 2011
Publisher: Flux
Challenge: Debut Author
Rating : ★★★½☆

Teaser Quote: “There was something about Alexander Grayson that was both strong and vulnerable. Like he had the best reasons anyone could want if they were going to wallow in self-pity, but he refused to do that. He wore his sadness with dignity.”

The Iron Daughter (Iron Fey, Book 2) – Julie Kagawa
Book Reviews
January 10, 2011 posted by Kiona

The Iron Daughter (Iron Fey, Book 2) – Julie Kagawa

“Half Summer faery princess, half human, Meghan has never fit in anywhere. Deserted by the Winter prince she thought loved her, she is prisoner to the Winter faery queen. As war looms between Summer and Winter, Meghan knows that the real danger comes from the Iron fey – ironbound faeries that only she and her absent prince have seen. But no one believes her.

Worse. Meghan’s own fey powers have been cut off. She’s stuck in Faery with only her wits for help. Trusting anyone would be foolish. Trusting a seeming traitor could be deadly. But even as she grows a backbone of iron, Meghan can’t help but hear the whispers of longing in her all-too-human heart.”

Meghan’s journey continues with the second installment of The Iron Fey series. At the end of the last book, Ash returned for Meghan to bring her back to the Winter queen, as they’d agreed. Iron Daughter picks up right where Iron King left off, with Meghan living as a prisoner in the Unseelie Court. Living in Unseelie probably wouldn’t be so bad if Ash hadn’t become mysteriously cold and distant, treating Meghan as if he hated her.

The Faery world turns to chaos when the Scepter of Seasons is stolen from the Winter queen. Queen Mab, of course, blames Oberon and declares war against Summer. The only ones who know the truth – that the scepter was stolen by the Iron fey – and the only ones who can stop the war are Meghan and Ash. The only problem is that Ash isn’t willing to work with Meghan.

This book is just as action-packed as the last. Each page provides a new twist to the story and the fast pace keeps the reader interested until the very end. Though I wouldn’t have believed it possible, even more new creatures are introduced in this book, along with new characters that are easy to love. We also see the return of wonderful characters like Grim, Puck, and even Ironhorse. It is fun to see such familiar characters in such a believable world and to watch them grow with each passing chapter.

Iron Daughter has a much stronger focus on Meghan’s romantic life. She admits her love for Ash a little too early on for my taste and even he admits she doesn’t truly know him, while her relationship with Puck seems more natural. But Ash is just as intriguing, mystifying, and aggravating as ever. I love seeing Meghan hack away at his icy exterior. Throughout the story, the two really do develop an understanding of each other’s personality. Of course, the tension between Puck and Ash only escalates. Puck is his charming, snarky self, but in this book we see him occasionally drop his over-confident mask and show Meghan his true feelings. It is impossible not to love Puck and to share in Meghan’s torn feelings over the two guys in her life.

I noticed the same sorts of inconsistencies with Meghan’s character as in the last book. First of all, any time Meghan swears seems unnatural and forced to me. Beside that, she unnecessarily bemoans her situation too often, making her come across as weak. But at other times, a fierce determination takes over and she fights just as ruthlessly as her defenders. I was sometimes agitated by the way she hated the fact that she had to make tough decisions. It takes awhile for her to come to terms with the fact that her life isn’t easy, something I feel she should have learned in the first book. I love her strong moments though and the way she refuses to give up on Ash. She has a power all her own and though others may have overlooked that fact in the first book, her strength cannot be ignored in this one.

Overall, I find the plot of Iron Daughter even more riveting than Iron King, which I thoroughly enjoyed. The characters really grow in fascinating ways and the unpredictable plot twists keeps you on your toes. The Faery world comes alive and offers a unique escape, one different from typical fantasy novels. The ending is extremely surprising and leaves me wondering just where the third and final book in the series will take us.

Review of the first book:  The Iron King
Pages: 359
Publication Date: August 2010
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Challenge: n/a
Rating : ★★★½☆

Teaser Quote: Puck looked at me aghast. “Oh, man. So that’s where the war rumors are coming from. Winter really is going to attack Summer.” He glared at Ash. “So, we’re at war. Perfect. Shall we save time and kill each other now, or did you want to wait until later?”

December 22, 2010 posted by Katie

The Chronicles of Narnia: Voyage of the Dawn Treader – yaFlicks Review

Hey yaReaders!

It’s been a long time since you have heard from me. I’m still around helping out with the forum and bookclub, but I’m making a special event out of this yaFlicks review. Why? Because it’s the review of the latest Chronicles of Narnia flick, the Voyage of the Dawn Treader. It’s the third film instalment of C.S. Lewis’ seven? books, and I’m here to give my thoughts on the film. (And I promise I won’t gush too much over Ben Barnes!)

The film opens with wartime Cambridge, where Edmund and Lucy Penvensie are staying with their cousin Eustace, while their Peter and Susan are in America with their parents. You get the sense that it has been quite a while since the last adventure to Narnia. Before long however, they are drawn back to Narnia through a painting that looks much like a Narnian ship. This time, Eustace is dragged with them.

Cue the first look at a now older Caspian and his crew who are sailing the very ship that was seen in the painting. The visual design on the ship was stunning, and it made it even more special that I got to see that ship in person. (For those who don’t know, I live in Queensland, Australia, which is where the ship was built for outdoor exterior locations – I have pictures to prove it!) That was one of the things that I was worried about, was how much of the design would change between the previous two films and this one. Needless to say, the design was a magnificent and visually stunning feast. The costumes were authentic (to Narnian standards) and the visual effects superb.

Skandar Keynes and Georgie Henley have also matured and that can be seen in their acting. It has improved since the first two instalments. Newcomer Will Poulter as Eustace was brilliant, being every bit annoying as the character needed to be to develop to who he was at the end. Ben Barnes was as brilliant as ever. Was interesting to note that this time round he used his natural British accent rather than the Spanish influence accent seen in the previous instalment. (And every second on-screen reminded me why I think he would be a perfect Dimitri Belikov!)

For those that have read the book, the movie follows very much in its episodic nature, with one mini-adventure after the next. It was very much a quest to find the goal, which in this case was Aslan’s Country. It was worth the 112 minutes with it being one of the most enjoyable films I have seen this year. A film full of light-hearted fun, with a captivating story and brilliant imagery that made the time fly past. I recommend that everyone see this, if not for the actors alone.

Length: 112 minutes
Format:  3D (where available) and 2D
Year: 2010
Rating:: ★★★★☆

Christina’s Thouhts: Hey guys, thought I’d hijack Katie’s post and include  my two cents as well.

Even though I have read all the Narnia books I stopped expecting the movies to be like the books when they cast Ben Barnes as Caspian (when he’s meant to be a blonde little boy), not that I’m complaining.

So, keeping an open mind to the storyline, I really enjoyed Voyage of the Dawn Treader, much more than the second film and the visuals were truly amazing. Since it was filmed in Australia, I felt a bit of patriotic pride for the beautiful locations.The acting was great (Eustace was a highlight), the storyline didn’t stray too far from the book, though naturally, some things were condensed and left out. I found the sword fighting to be a bit boring but mostly because that’s just not my thing. I’m also glad Ben Barnes (Caspian) got rid off the Spanishy accent, MUCH better with the English.

Would I have enjoyed it as much if he wasn’t in it? Possibly not, but in saying that……..Ben Barnes in 3D, hell yes! For some of us, that’s as close to the real thing as we’re gonna get.

Molly Fyde and the Parsona Rescue – Hugh Howey
Book Reviews
February 20, 2010 posted by Katie

Molly Fyde and the Parsona Rescue – Hugh Howey

When Molly gets kicked out of the Naval Academy, she loses more than just another home, she loses the only two things that truly matter: flying in space and her training partner, Cloe. A dull future seems to await, until a marvellous discovery changes everything.

Her father’s old starship, missing for a decade, turns up halfway across the galaxy. Its retrieval launches Molly and Cole on the adventure of a lifetime, one that will have lasting consequences for themselves and billions of others.

What starts off as a simple quest to reconnect with her past, ends up forging a new future. And the forgotten family she hoped to uncover becomes one she never foresaw: a band of alien misfits and runaways – the crew of the starship Parsona.

Ever looked up into the sky at night and imagined yourself flying around the stars off on some other-worldly adventure? Well, this is Molly’s reality. Or will be. Molly is a navy cadet. And don’t be fooled into thinking the Navy is what we understand the Navy to be. Yes they drive ships, but not the standard H.M.A.S. vessels of today’s waters. Molly and her fellow classmates are learning to pilot starships. Sure they are still in training but running a full visual simulator is darn close to the real thing, right down to the G-force experienced.

But in a standard-procedure simulator test, something seems to go wrong. For Molly and her pilot Cole fail and fail miserably. And as much as they try to convince their superiors otherwise, no-one believes them. For Molly and Cole’s simulator was tampered with. Every procedure runs fine, except the ability to arm and fire weapons. Without weapons, they have almost a no-chance at survival. Cole suspects sabotage. With both of them for examination, it will be Molly that the blame is laid at. Particular since Cole was technically ‘killed’ early into the simulator run and it is so much easier to blame the girl.

For Molly, this means expulsion. No more training, and no more hope of becoming a Naval officer. Resigned to a life at a normal high school, everything suddenly seems less for Molly. If loss of her only home, her connection to her past and her best friend that she can’t stop thinking about wasn’t enough, Molly is an outcast in her new school, merely because she is different. That is, until she gets an opportunity of a lifetime. Her father’s ship has been found. And as the legal owner, Molly is the only one who can go and collect it.

And a seemingly straightforward mission is the start of a whole new adventure that even Molly couldn’t begin to fathom…

Molly Fyde and the Parson Rescue is debut novel from Hugh Howey and the first in the Molly Fyde series. The thing that grabbed me from the first page of this novel was the believability in writing and character. The plot just flowed effortlessly, from describing the complexities of hyperspace, simulation flying and other world social structure to the simple dialogue between two best friends struggling to find what they mean to each other. There aren’t many authors who can get you completely lost in a story, but Howey was one of them. For me, I just wanted to know what would happen next, what the next twist in the story would be. As a credit to the author, I never saw the ending that was coming. It makes you easily want to read the next book in the series as soon as you can.

The characters of Molly and Cole were another highlight to the novel. Reading from Molly’s point of view as she struggled through countless personal and emotional challenges left me caring about what happened to her. The history and connection between Molly and Cole as a pair was believable, and the tension that built up added to the story, instead of taking away from it as so many teen-romances can be known to do. That being said, Molly does have her fair share of moments where I just wanted to knock some sense into her and tell her to get over the small dramatics that really seemed unnecessary.

All in all though, a highly engaging read that I would recommend for anyone who is or was a fan of space adventure.

Pages: 258

Publication Date: 2009

Rating:: ★★★★☆

Teaser quote: By the time they arrived at the Palan system, he must’ve had eighteen hours of uninterrupted rest. No bathroom breaks. No food. No flirting. Molly couldn’t understand how he contained himself. Even from the last.

Behind Green Glass – Amanda Von Hoffmann
Book Reviews
February 14, 2010 posted by Katie

Behind Green Glass – Amanda Von Hoffmann

Isolde is a shy and artistic sixteen-year old who moves into a house rumored to be haunted. When she discovers a shard of green glass, a new world opens for her. Through the glass she sees Lyric, who mistakenly believes he is a ghost, and other ethereally beautiful creatures.

As their mystery unfolds, Isolde learns they are not ghosts, but The Forgotten Ones, fairies cast out of their realm, labelled imperfect for their physical and mental differences. Isolde’s friendship with Lyric and The Forgotten Ones teaches her that sometimes our imperfections can also be our greatest strengths.

Isolde Rackham isn’t like other kids her age. For one, she is home schooled, automatically different to anyone in the small town of Thornville. Two, she just moved to Thornville with her slightly reclusive mother who is also her teacher. As if this wasn’t enough the house that Isolde and her mother moved into is supposedly haunted by a girl who committed suicide some 50-years before Isolde got there. So you might be able to understand Isolde hesitation to just walk around town, yet she can’t avoid going into town forever.

On her first trip in she runs into a guy called Matt. Well, not so much run into but Matt’s friends couldn’t leave her alone. So beings the relationship with Matt. At first, it’s a hesitant one, with both of them not really knowing how to act around the other, especially when they are so different to each other. But as time goes by, Isolde finds that she is trusting Matt more and more. Almost enough to tell him her secret – that was if, he wouldn’t think her completely insane for it. After all, how many 16-year-olds do you know that can see fairies?

It started when Isolde found a piece of green glass hidden in the draws of her new home. Then came the fingerprint on the painting – a fingerprint Isolde didn’t put there. And by chance, Isolde glances through the glass and in that moment, Isolde’s life as she knew it was changed forever.

For through the glass she saw a figure, human in shape yet graceful beyond anything a human could achieve. Isolde’s first thought must be that she is seeing ghosts. Yet ghosts aren’t meant to exist. As she gains courage and begins to have conversation with the mysterious figure, Isolde learns that his name is Lyric and that he isn’t the only one out there. Along with Lyric and his family, Isolde embarks on an adventure to discover the true meaning of who they are, why they are out there, seemingly the only ones of their kind. And not everyone is ready for that information to be uncovered…

Behind Green Glass is debut novel from Amanda von Hoffman and is a light and easy read with an engaging and captivating story. I found that reading from Isolde’s point of view to be quite easy and engaging, a skill that not all authors have. The story provided something different in the YA genre – fairies. Apart from Melissa Marr’s Wicked Lovely series, you don’t often see many fairy tales in the young adult section, and with Behind Green Glass, von Hoffman has made a notable contribution to this category. The characters I found intriguing and would have liked to know more about – especially Isolde and her mother’s friendly neighbor Joe Albright.

A genuinely easy to read and engaging story – I enjoyed!

Pages: 184

Publication Date: May 2010 (pre-order now)

Rating:: ★★★★☆

Teaser quote: Perched in the maple outdoors she saw a figure, human in shape, animal-like in posture. A smooth expanse of bare muscled chest, light tangled hair, glowing irises. The glass slipped from her fingers…